Hash House Hariers Hike
11 August 2007 | Florida, Grenada
A wave is predicted to come of off Africa in the next couple of days that the forecasters are fairly stirred up about. I don't like that kind of foreshadowing. We'll keep an eye on this one.
We took a trip inland today to do some hashing. I had no idea what this was before we arrived in Grenada. The Hash House Harriers are apparently world wide. The story, as I have heard it, is that some Brit ex pats in Indonesia used to hang out on Saturdays at the Hash House and drink. At some point someone decided that they could drink more if they did a hike right before the drinking. The rest is apparently history.
Each hike is different and somewhat ad hoc. One of the regular hashers is assigned to Set the Hash (establish the route) by the Hash Master. The Hashers in Grenada go out every other Saturday and once a year they trek to Cariacou for a special Hash.
We caught a right with CYM (they have a really fast dinghy) to the Carenage where the newbies wait for a ride to the Hash. The regular hashers stop by and pick up everyone they can at no charge. We got lucky enough to catch a ride with Arthur, a native Grenadian. He worked at a museum associated with one of the old Rum Distilleries on the island. It was a long ride to the town of Florida but Arthur made the ride interesting and gave us lots of information about the places that we drove by.
Florida is a little town up in the mountains in the center of Grenada. It started to rain right after we arrived. It stopped right after we left. The hike was awesome. It literally trekked right through the jungle. No path to speak of other than the one the folks in front of you had trod down.
The Hash setter drops confetti on the ground to mark the course. The setter for this hike got a late start and didn't hook the trail up with the other half that had been marked. The rain made tracking the trail down a little difficult as well. Hashers have their own lingo for these situations. If you call out to folks ahead of you they will say, "On On!", to indicate that the trail is afoot and you should head their way. However, if you hear, "On Back!", you know things have gone south up ahead and you need to go back to look for the place that you lost the trail. We on backed all the way to the start since our half of the trail never met the other half. It was still a great hash and we hope to do it again in a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed being in the rain forest and some of the vistas were fantastic.
At the end of the hike folks hang out and mix over beers. During this window, hash virgins, are singled out for indoctrination. We discovered that this involves running a gauntlet while everyone sprays said beer at you. At the end you get a certificate that supposedly protects you from such wasteful beer spraying in the future. We were already soaked so it wasn't so bad.
The little restaurant/bar that was hosting the hashers had started to prepare the national dish, Oil Down. It is a delicious mixture of dumplings, chicken (often but not always), Saffron (this is the local name but I think it is turmeric), bread fruit, coconut milk, and other ingredients. Our ride had to go before it was finished but it smelled great and we ended up having some for lunch later in the week.
We all felt bad for Arthur's car, because to the man, Peter, Debbie, Josh, Mathias, Hideko and I were all soaked with beer. I guess he knew it was going to happen anyway. Serves him right for not telling us.
Arthur dropped us off at the yacht club where Peter had tied up the dinghy. We all thanked him heartily for the wonderful hospitality. Back at the boat we stayed conscious just long enough to take a shower. We slept soundly.